Recently I went to continue working on an orchestral score that’s been sitting on my drive for a couple months, but when I opened it up and started playback, the volume began jumping up and down randomly like a roller-coaster, affecting most (but not all) staves. There’s nothing visible in the score that could explain it: no hidden dynamics or other text or symbols, nothing bizarre in the Mixer, etc. The score played back just fine the last time I worked on it.
A few hours of troubleshooting narrowed the problem to the score itself; the issue doesn’t replicate in any other score, and all other computer audio (such as music playback) sounds fine. I tried switching audio interfaces (ASIO vs. WASAPI vs. DirectSound, my PreSonus Audiobox USB vs. plain computer audio, etc.), verifying the cables, restarting Sibelius and rebooting my computer, etc. – nothing worked.
Finally, I isolated one particular sequence in the score where the problem is especially noticeable and I then created a new score from scratch in which I replicated the section down to the last note, using the same playback configuration and Mixer settings as the original score. Whilst playback of the original score continues to glitch, the second, new score plays back just fine. However, if I copy elements (such as a staff) from the original score into the new one, the problem then infects the new score as well.
I’ve saved both files onto my Dropbox, linked below:
» Excerpt 1 – original, glitchy.sib (120 KB)
» Excerpt 2 – recreated, no glitch.sib (48 KB)
(If anyone knows another/better way to attach files to a Stack Exchange post, please let me know.)
To describe the problem as heard in the above-linked “original” file: playback starts too quiet (as if volume was at 30%) for the first bar, then jumps to full volume for the second bar, then falls back down again for the last two bars. The second file (“recreated”) plays back at an even, normal volume. (In case it’s relevant, the sound library I use in these files is LA Scoring Strings v2.5 for Violins I and II, Viola, Cello I and D.Bass, and Sibelius Sounds for Cello II. The volume glitch occurs with both sound libraries, so this isn’t exclusive to LASS or anything.)
So far, all I can think of is to recreate the entire score note-for-note, which would take an eternity.
So here’s my two-part question: a) does anyone know what might be causing this bizarre volume glitch, and b) is there any way to fix it in the original score?
Affects all my sound libraries randomly
Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
Audio interface: PreSonus Audiobox USB (using ASIO driver)
Following @brian-thomas’s suggestion in the comments, I tried playing both scores (linked above) back in General MIDI, with interesting results: the volume-jumping went away in the first score, but it played evenly at a much lower volume (maybe 50% or less) than the second score, which plays at full volume. However, I lack any MIDI sequencing software (or knowledge) to test this avenue further.
Following Brian Thomas’s latest suggestion, I’ve exported both excerpts as MusicXML files (linked below) and run them through this difference-checking site, but I don’t know much about MusicXML so I can’t tell for sure whether the answer is in there. All I see are minor differences in formatting/layout (margins, font sizes, etc.), which I don’t think would affect the playback.
It seems the problem is with my custom House Style specifically. I exported the original score (the full one, not the above-linked excerpt) to MusicXML and imported it back into a new score. The problem was gone. Yet when I import my custom House Style, the problem returns immediately. Hitting Ctrl+Z to undo the House Style import gets rid of the problem again.
So a messed up House Style is the problem. Is there a way to get rid of that? Can you reset a House Style?